Saturday, March 19, 2011

spring blessings...

I'm learning to take stock of my blessings, big and small. Here are a few recent ones that make me smile. I'm sure you have a blessings list all your own.

These delightfully lovely cards came in the mail today! From a dear reading friend in Michigan. I am always amazed when readers reach out in creative ways whether it be a surprise in the mail or a thoughtful blog comment here. Life is often difficult and encouragement means so very much! Bless you, Stacie, and others!


Randy knows the way to my heart - chocolate carrots! He put it on top my laptop where I would be sure to find it. I did and the rest is history:)


My latest endorsement request is from Barbour - an advanced reader copy is on the way! I'm so excited to be able to endorse MaryLu's upcoming release.




My two latest reads - both wonderful. If only Liz would write faster!



This is a big rehearsal month for Paul and his fiddle. The spring performance is coming up and he's playing Tam Lin and Hurlock's Reel with his friend, Adalie. They make quite a dynamic duo;)

Is it hard for you to count your blessings or does JOY come naturally to you? Can you name some things you're thankful for? Nothing is too big or too small, I'm finding...

Bless you all!


37 comments:

  1. YOU!

    I'm serious I am so blessed in this business, and I'm not even "in" yet! :)

    You, Julie, Cara and sooooo many others, it's mind boggling! Not to mention all the wonderful people I have met who aren't yet published, the lovely ladies at the Alley being just a few.

    Lord bless your weekend, Laura!!

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  2. I'm thankful for the major things that may seem small but show how large they truly are when they're not present. Such as health, safety, loved ones, food, etc. I'm also thankful for the lovely weather we are having right now. Daffodils and violets are blooming too. :)

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  3. Adrienne, So well said! Small things are often HUGE when we realize many people don't have them like health and food and the other blessings you mentioned. Even walking and breathing are such gifts! I'm so glad you're having beautiful weather your way. We have a few things blooming and recently they were peeking out of the snow:) I love violets and daffodils, especially the double ones that are old-fashioned. Bless you for taking time here!

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  4. Casey, Oh yes, people are surely some of His best blessings! And they come into our lives in such creative ways:) I never dreamed even a few years ago of the friends I'd make online. I think you and other writers have such a great start being connected early on, something I was privy to. God bless you for your JOY!

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  5. What sweet surprises! You must be so proud of Paul for his upcoming performance.

    Being grateful is definitely the key to our joy. If I find I'm discontent I try to think of all the things I'm thankful for, though I too often forget. Quite often it's the small things that make me most happy and I have so much in my life to be joyful about, sometimes I wish it showed more. Working on it.

    Thank you for your sweet reminders to be joyful.

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  6. I enjoy popping in to see what's happening in your life, Laura. Your husband sounds sweet--no wonder it's natural for you to put romance in your books! Do you take a gazillion pics of your son when he's performing or just quietly soak it all in? I know proud parents can go either way . . .

    Isn't it fun that we can be in touch with folks who live half a world away and share about the things we love? Though many say the internet isolates, I'm truly thankful for the technology that allows me to surf the net. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter--I love 'em all:)

    Because of it, I'm in touch with a missionary friend in China, a bloggy friend in Manila who is keeping us informed about her family in Japan (safe so far), a hurting friend in Florida who needs some encouragement, new-to-me bookloving friends from all over the country--well, you get the idea!

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  7. No, it does not come naturally to me. But I do have so many blessings that I'm astounded when I stop to think about it.

    One of my biggest blessings is that I am able to stay home with my children. Sometimes something will just happen and it comes to mind I would have missed this...Those thoughts help me get through the hard days with homeschooling...and remind me that its so worth it. I really need those reminders some days.

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  8. What beautiful cards! I would have been tickled pink too. Let's see what I am thankful for today. 1st, a great church family which is just one of the many spiritial fruits of being saved. And my sweet Husband! Everyday is like Saturday with him retired. We just get in the car and ....go!

    And I am thankful for books and tea! And...pussywillows, they are growing fat and furry...while I wait to pounce on them with a pair of shears. Wishing you a happy new week, which is only 59 minutes away now. I must go before my 'thankful' list keeps growing!

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  9. My husband lost his job in the recession over 2 years ago, and it has been monumentally difficult for us ever since. We live in an are where jobs are not very available, and the economy in New England is NOT 'better'. He has been so far unable to find a job in his field, (he has a BFA in fine art---illustration and design, and was a graphic designer), so is currently teaching special needs kids. They pay him an insulting, unappreciative, and miserable apprx. $250. a week (FULL TIME), and NO insurance for me. (Although he is a 'natural'---a 'born teacher', and the kids adore him, he cannot do it---we just can't live, and to get his certificate would be $20,000 for a few courses! Ridiculous and impossible.) It is very hard to keep hope after so long a time, and continuous disappointments on a weekly, if not daily basis.

    I initially started my blog because of our situation; I wanted to be able to write about my life here, and all it's joys. I felt it would be a way to focus on all the blessings I have in the midst of all the fear and uncertainty. I sometimes feel discouraged, and that that maybe I should just give it up and stop writing my blog. I have tried to think that just maybe my words are bringing joy to someone, or a few people out there...

    I am so thankful that Adam is in my life, and that we will always remain "the 2 peas in the pod", and somehow get through all of this, but it is hard to believe this will ever end at this point. Frankly, we have both had the stuffing kicked out of us repeatedly, and without a break for over 2 years, and faith is hard to come by for me. I so admire all of you who have it...

    I guess I am at a crossroads now, and am questioning much. I don't know if I will continue with the blog or not, or if what I have to say has much meaning or not. It has helped me to try and see the little joys of every day, and for that alone, I am glad I wrote...

    Mary
    http://anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

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  10. Thank you very much for this post. It goes so well with something that happened this weekend.

    My grandfather turned 84 on Saturday. Obviously, I feel very blessed to still have him with us. He's been in a nursing home for a year, and has Alzheimer's. He still recognizes all of us, so that is a blessing of course. Saturday was the first time I'd spent any time alone with him since he's been in the nursing home. Always before, I've gone home on a Friday evening, and then have gone to see him neither on Saturday or Sunday with my parents. He doesn't talk that much anymore, and his voice has gotten very low. I had to sit very close to him to be able to hear. In a lot of ways, I still think of him as he was even a year and a half ago. So at first the visit didn't feel that great to me. After my mom, and I went home, I was talking with her about it. I told her Papaw and I had talked about my jury duty last month, and the situations in Japan and Libya. Turns out, he talked to me more than he does to most other people, and has my mom said I can think of things to talk with him about that she and my stepdad don't think of. My love of history and current events comes directly from him. ;)

    I believe I'm going to have to look for those chocolate carrots. They look yummy! So sweet of Randy to get them for you.

    Liz had a book signing here on Saturday. If I hadn't been going home, I so would have gone to it.

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  11. Carla, You're so right - gratefulness is the secret key that unlocks joy. Ingratitude is a killjoy, for sure. I always think of the Israelites grumbling and don't want to go there though I often do. Am working on the gratitude factor, like you said. It IS work at times. I think of something agent Wendy Lawton said recently in a blog post - "All that matters is how we respond to what we've been given." Amen to that! Bless you for your sweet words here.

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  12. Renee Ann, You're so right about being able to connect with others through the web in amazing ways. Just a few years ago I couldn't talk to my brother in Ecuador w/o paying an enormous phone bill. Now there's Skype, email, and he has a US based phone # for Spain:) You are such an encourager and I'm so thankful you stumbled upon me and my blog and books! I know others are very blessed when you visit them via the web, in the classrooom, or wherever you are. Thanks so much for taking time here. You're a blessing:)

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  13. Julia,
    Praise/Joy is not natural for me either. While I'm not a negative person, I see far more shadows than sunlight, probably because I'm somewhat melancholy. I feel like Eeyore (sp?) somedays!

    You have the perfect perspective about homeschooling. Since putting the boys in school fulltime this past year, I look back and treasure those years when it was just the 3 of us cocooned in our little homeschooling world - such happy days, even when things didn't go well! We've reached another milestone this week when we have to let something else go related to their childhood and I'm so sad, then think of and am thankful for the quiet years we had at home when they were small.

    Anyway, I'm so glad you are remembering to enjoy this precious time. It is too fleeting.

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  14. Maggie Ann, I sensed you were a JOYful person when I visited your blog:) It's contagious, you know! Like you, I love tea and books, of course, and church family is such a blessing, yes! Pussy willows make me smile. Only the cat tails are out here and I want to take my shears after them:)

    It must be wonderful to hop in the car and go! We're so looking forward to the day we can do that once Randy retires. Fun to dream about, then do! Bless you for sharing some of your list. I'm glad to know it might have kept you up past midnight!

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  15. Mary,
    I often think that the more we go through (hardships), the better able we are to help others. Your blog/website is a wonderful example of that. You are so gracious and giving one would never know about the struggles!! I'm so glad you shared this here. You never know the lives you touch because of your outreach - your historical programs and your blog, offerings, etc. I'm only one thankful recepient.

    Even with hardships, you have a sense of joy that shines through - I feel it everytime I visit your incredible blog. Though people don't often comment on blogs, many people read and are blessed. Myself included! You're such a blessing to me, Mary. I pray you feel encouraged and have a renewed sense of purpose. Though you may not think so, you and Adam are a huge blessing. I thank God for you every day.

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  16. Michelle,
    So thankful you got to spend time with your grandpa and minister to him as only you can. It's no accident that you went alone and had those things to talk about! I hope you have other opportunities just like that. You (and your mom) were able to see past the shadows to the blessing therein. Neat to know where your love of history and current events comes from. That's a wonderful legacy.

    Those chocolate carrots are from Rite-Aid:) Yummy. And I thought of you - and Liz - when I read about her signing in Lex. Wish we could have gone together though I think you were right where you were supposed to be this weekend:)

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  17. Mary,
    I just wanted to mention that I, too, was a teacher's aide for many years and found the pay dismal, too. I worked with special ed kids and those in Chapter 2 programs. I have a feeling Adam is gifted in that, as well as graphic design. I promise to pray that something else will open up for him that would be a perfect fit. Please keep me posted. We'll expect good things to come.

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  18. Please forgive the typos - I meant chapter 1 programs. Where are my reading glasses?!

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  19. Renee Ann, Finally remembered to asnwer your question here:) Paul is pretty shy about performing and doesn't like being filmed or his pic taken, sadly. So I just sit and watch and take a snapshot with my heart, so to speak! Bless you for asking.

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  20. :-)...You did a good job taking the picture. It does my heart good to see them on the Window Sill.

    I am pretty much see the glass half full kind of girl I get blessed by just seeing a Red Breasted Robin on my lawn because I know when I see that bird I know Spring is coming.

    If it happens to be raining, I am so thankful for the close space in a large parking lot!


    God's love and provision is so infinite, I don't even know where to start counting those blessings!

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  21. Lovely lists of thankfuls, Laura. They certainly seems to radiate joy in your 'voice'. Alas for the poor chocolate bunny, though. His joy was short-lived.

    Let's see -- my list:

    - blogs like this one
    - the supportive network of Christian fiction writers and readers
    - hot cross buns
    - days when it doesn't snow in March
    - a really good picture book like How Rocket Learned to Read
    - waking up in the morning to a sheltie hug
    - Laura Secord Easter Eggs
    - oatmeal in the morning
    - bunnies hopping around in the morning again
    - longer days
    - curling up in bed with a good book
    - velcro
    - libraries that have holds waiting for me

    Okay -- I'll stop, but it's fun to think of thankfuls, isn't it? Oh here's one last one

    - authors who blog and encourage me to take stock of my blessings

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  22. Kav, I love your list - read it over several times and ended up smiling:) Nearly everything I can relate to except oatmeal! I love it when it's made right but I can't get it right for some reason... And I'm in total agreement with curling up with a book. I have such a treasure right now with Mine is the Night and am on page 150 or so. I just threw everything to the wind, including my own stuff, to just savor every minute of the read. It's going to be over far too soon...

    Funny thing as I was thinking about you yesterday and today you appeared:)

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  23. Oh Stacie, so well said:) God's love and provision are so infinite... That's why ingratitude must grieve Him. I love that you're a glass half full kind of gal. I long to be and He's working on me:)

    Morrow does like fine on that windowsill, bless you. You've included some of my favorite things within - tea in a very pretty cup (I have a similar one), lace, and flowers. Gerbera daisies, no less, or at least I think it is! I can't thank you enough, dear friend.

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  24. I needed this post, Laura, thank you :) I do find it hard to count my blessings, especially in times of trial - which my family and I currently find ourselves. But when I fix my eyes on Christ and not my trial or circumstances I not only find peace and JOY but a million things to be thankful for. Also, with my eyes on Christ and spending more time with Him in Word and prayer, His promises are fresh in my mind and heart and He gives me the strength to stand on them. I know I have so very much to be thankful for and my prayer is that the Lord will place within me a heart of praise - for He inhabits the praise of His people :)

    Love those Morrow cards! What a wonderful idea! OH, and is there any better chocolate than Lindt?? For Easter I like the little sheep and bunnies :) And I am so excited for MaryLu's Surrender the Dawn!! Been waiting for that one for a while ;) And thats so exciting for Paul! Best wishes to him for his spring performance :)

    Thanks again for this post. It brought a smile I was desperately needing :)

    Blessings,
    Amanda

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  25. Amanda, YAY! You're here:) I was going to post a devotinal this morning but then thought, NOPE, not till Amanda checks in. I'm so sorry to hear about that your family is experiencing a trial. Often they come unexpectedly and shake us up for a bit before we regain our equilibrium. Love what you said about standing on His promises. That's quite a word picture and just what we need to be doing. Keeping Scripture fresh in our hearts and heads is a huge plus and makes all the difference. I'm so glad you shared that. Oftentimes our biggest trials reap our biggest blessings. I'm praying for you and your family and will continue.

    Thanks for the thumbs up to the chocolate carrots and all else:) This has been a hard month for me, honestly, too, so thought a post on counting blessings would be in order. Easter is right around the corner (one of my favorite holidays) and sunshine will soon appear (or so I keep telling myself). Bless you bunches, Amanda. Prayers with you!

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  26. Thank you, dear friend, I feel those prayers :) Casey is right, YOU are definitely a huge blessing in my life, too! And I just LOVE the devotionals you post. They're always something I need to hear. Thanks again for everything :)

    Blessing,
    Amanda

    P.S. - My word verification is "spain" - I'm pretty sure thats where you said your brother is, right? Praying for him and his family and the beautiful work they do for Christ :)

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  27. God has blessed me abundantly. One big blessing was finding Laura Frantz when I was looking for comparables to what I was writing. And then getting to know you and then reading your wonderful books. The Frontiersman's Daughter is still my favorite! Hugs!

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  28. Amanda, Wish I could clone you:) But God broke the mold! Thanks for the encouraging words. They are so welcome on my end. Isn't it amazing how books can bring people like you, Casey, and I together - and others here? One of God's richest gifts to us...

    Getting ready to post another devotional. Praying it blesses. And thanks so much for the thoughts for my brother and family in Spain! Sunny Spain! I will have to post some pics of my little neice doing her flamenco dancing in her red dress there with the Sierra mountains in the background. They are doing well and are very busy with ministry, and appreciate all prayers so very much! Bless you!

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  29. Carrie, So glad to see you here after your whirlwind Virginia happenings! I wished every day that I was with you and Laurie Alice:) Thanks for the continued encouragement about TFD. I've just received some very good news about the book that I will share when it's official. I think it will make you smile:) Till then, prayers and thoughts with you all the way!

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  30. Oooh, love MaryLu's new cover. How did I miss that?

    Spring does something to every creature, doesn't it? Especially tease... we're getting 6 inches of snow today after 60s last week.

    Your blog is always such a nice place to come to, Laura! Thank you.

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  31. Debra, This blog is always a better place when you're in it:) 6 inches after 60 degrees...hmmm. God has a great sense of humor! Now I wish I'd posted the pic of crocuses in snow I found on Google Images. Stunning! Here's wishing sunshine for the both of us! Hope you have a great writing day!

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  32. Mary, my heart was so touched by what you shared. I pray you and Adam are blessed with an improvement of finances and security very soon. I so hope you keep on with your blog. Your knowledge and enthusiasm caught me the first time I visited and your 'love story' inspires me.

    May you find peace of mind knowing that God loves you and will keep you.

    Thank you, Laura.
    I had a sloppy, slippery drive home but the daffodils are in sight and spring won't be denied!

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  33. Debra, You are so gracious, thank you. I hope Mary returns and sees your comments. She does have a wonderful blog, one I can't get enough of. Glad you're enjoying that sloggy, slippery weather AND those daffs:)

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  34. @Mary - I didn't even read your comment until I saw the sweet things Debra said in her's to you. But I want you to know you're not alone with the financial problems. As a fellow New Englander my family is feeling this now more than ever. We own our own business - it's seasonal and we rely heavily on the sun... and the Son ;) Rhode Island is one of the hardest places to live financially and we are discovering that more this year than ever. Its our current trial right now but I believe God is in control - His hand is not shortened than it cannot save, neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear. I will keep you and your husband in prayer, that the Lord will provide your every need and encourage your hearts and strengthen your spirits in the meantime. Don't grow weary, friend, for in due season you shall reap your reward :)

    "...yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." (Psalm 37:25)

    Blessings,
    Amanda

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  35. It IS the little things in life that give us so much joy. My parents were visiting us this week, and I had such a great time with them. I feel spiritually refreshed now, and I'm finding myself seeing all kinds of little joys I'd missed before. Life as a Christian, as long as you're walking with God, is so so good!

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  36. Love the verses, Amanda, and your kind comments. So many are experiencing hardships and I'm sorry your family is, too. Many familes have had to leave our area as the cost of living is so high here. The only thing that remains the same is God and for that I am very thankful!

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  37. Sally, So glad you had a great visit with your parents! It really does open our eyes to blessings when we get out of our routines and enjoy life with others, especially loved ones. Your JOY is evident:) And God IS so so good. Bless you for that!

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